How to Make a Living as a Professional Self-Published Author


Wait, nobody reads mine. That qualifies me to be a professor! BRB sending my CV off to a few universities… :joy:


Sounds like an excellent plan! :wink:


I wonder what Joe is doing now. It was his blog that changed my mind about self-publishing. He was the shooting star that a lot of writer’s wished on when we went to Amazon for the first time.


Yeah, Joe really shone a light on what was possible. We had dinner together (Blake Crouch as well as my wife and my then agent) when both of us were in New York for BEA. I invited him…a fancy steak house with tons of very expensive scotch. I didn’t mind, it was great just to talk business with someone who was like-minded. When I went to pay the bill, I was floored to find he had already paid it! Very generous.

He made so much money in his hey day. I think he still does very well, but I think he’s cooled a bit. His blog was awesome. I’m sorry to see it go.


Yeah, I’m sorry to see it go too. Those were heady days. His last post was January of 2018.

The only two bloggers still going strong are KKR and DWS, they were the newcomers then. lol


Indeed. I think part of the reason they are still going is they get donations and when taking people’s money it’s important to keep posting. There is a lot i agree with from KKR and DWS, but there are a few places where we diverge. Smart people.


I tip them, which is why I thought the tip system would be helpful here.

What do you think about Patreon?


I have as well. But I’m not sure that we are the norm. I think we’re probably the exception.

I know it’s been great for some authors. N. K. Jemisin got a HUGE Patreon following which allowed her to quit her day job. I back quite a few authors there. The biggest problem I see is providing ongoing content. It’s why I’ve not embraced it yet. I don’t want to take time away from my novels…and I’m not great at writing short stories - which is what most people give to their backers.

I prefer Kickstarters because it’s project based. I raise money for a specific task, the rewards are distributed once and done, and people really enjoy feeling that they played a part in the creation of something.

Bottom line - I’m glad there are so many new ways for authors to earn. So I’m pretty much supportive of them all. Each author will gravitate to different ones, and theres nothing wrong with that.


This is VERY true. Every writer has to find their own niche - and it’s easy to get frustrated until one finds their niche. Some people never find the niche they want.

I’m looking into getting a regional following for my other pen name, which is going to be face-to-face sales, like Konrath did in the very, very beginning. I’ve always had good luck face-to-face.

Haven’t you done quite a bit of face-to-face selling? Can you talk about that a bit?


You know, I’ve not done much face-to-face. In the VERY early days I went to fantasy conventions, rented a table, and stood in the dealers rooms for hours upon hours. Yeah, I made sales…more than those around me, but, I don’t think it was an efficient use of my time. I can bet many more sales by interacting with people online than I can face-to-face.

Does that mean your approach isn’t going to work? No, not at all. It wasn’t “my thing.” And quite frankly I didn’t like it. But if you have a talent for it, by all mean give it a try…and I hope it works out well.


It seems to work best when one is in a market or festival that’s not book related. Author or Book festivals don’t do as well as other venues.

The writer I know who does the best is a Western writer who goes to Horse related events. She’ll sell a couple dozen paperbacks and quite a few e-books after every event.


You could be right. I’ve ONLY ever done it at book related events. I’m glad its working out well for your friend and I hope you find similar success.


Extremely new on wattpad. I’ve actually been a professional screenwriter for just under 30 years… Notice I said SCREENWRITER and NOT WRITER. Why? Because until very recently, I’ve never REALLY considered myself a real writer. A couple of years ago, I took one of my screenplays and adapted it to a book and I have to say… I was TRANSFORMED.

By that I mean all the normal rules of writing a screenplay were gone… I could now write about thoughts, smells, feelings, etc. But still, after I wrote that book, I still didn’t feel like I was on par with what I have always considered to be real writers… i.e., those who write novels.

I recently decided to just move forward and try my hand at it… Not really trying to break in or make a living at it. This is more personal with me… I guess I want to prove to MYSELF that I can actually write something that can keep a reader’s attention.

Only problem? My stuff is rather dark. I was one of the guys producers went to in order to tweak something to make it a little darker. Not that there aren’t any dark novels… There are of course but I guess what I’m asking anyone who might read this – no matter what level you’re at – what’s your experience when it comes to writing in a genre? I assume my stuff would be considered the thriller genre but again, this is all new to me. I’m really trying to read as many posts in the Community as I can in order to understand all of this but it is a bit overwhelming at times. I can only assume, I need to stick with it and keep writing.

But I would be interested to know from anyone, the best way to get some reads on their work and more important? The right kind of reads. If I write thrillers, do I want someone who writes romance to read my stuff just so I can get a read? Probably not. Again, not trying to break into the business or anything like that at this point. Just want to know if someone who would normally read thrillers can even read my stuff and be somewhat entertained.

Do you just keep writing and cross your fingers? I read a lot about wattpad before actually publishing anything on here and I guess I somehow came to think this was like showing your material to a manager in the film industry… i.e., they’d tell you what they liked and do not like about your material. Somewhere along the line, I assumed there were so many readers here that I’d wake up the next morning and see what real readers have to say about my material… The good, the bad, and the ugly so to speak.

So I guess my question is this… How has wattpad CHANGED your writing? And if it has changed your writing has it changed it for the better or worse?



Welcome! I love screenwriting. Love it, love it, love it.

Yes, prose fiction is an entirely different world, isn’t it? Freeing in many ways, but challenging in others. I found that screenwriting – my background is not nearly as long and impressive as yours – taught me wonderful things about structure and pacing that really aid my fiction writing.

First, about Wattpad. I love it here, but you really have to be realistic about it.

  • It’s skewed HEAVILY toward teens and beginning writers. Writers of fiction aimed toward adults have a harder time gaining traction.

  • Because of the sheer number of stories here – in the millions – you have to do the heavy lifting for marketing. It’s not a “write it, and they will find it” place anymore than Amazon is.

  • This is not where I would look for serious critiques from experience writers, nor even beta readers for a complete novel. Reader feedback on serial chapters? Sure.

  • I wouldn’t put anything but a first draft here if you’re planning to publish later.

So – your actual questions, LOL. No, Wattpad hasn’t changed my writing. I was pubbed before I came here, and I don’t publish fiction on this site (except for a couple of “practice” novellas I posted under a different profile). My audience isn’t really here.


Wow. Thanks so much @XimeraGrey for that answer… Clears up a LOT for me! I really appreciate it. I’d read some eBook from Writer’s Digest that was all about wattpad and based on reading it? It made it sound like genre readers are just waiting to read your material and tell you what they think. And? I’m sure that’s true to a certain degree but not quite as much as the eBook hyped it to be.

So if you don’t mind…

After reading the last part of your reply, I have to ask… Why do you publish here? To try out new types of writing?

Thanks so much…


Well, when I first joined, it was because a friend’s agent (publisher? can’t remember which) had suggested she join, and I was curious. I fell in love with the forums, especially this club. Eventually I wrote a little guide about publishing to answer some of the common questions and give the kids a guide.

Back then I had only recently made the transition from screenwriting to fiction. (I’m pubbed in nonfiction.) I was still trying to figure out HOW to write prose. So I posted a couple of novellas I wrote strictly for fun on another profile just to see how they were received. I don’t really do anything with that account anymore – haven’t in ages – and I don’t publish any of my “real” fiction here (if for no other reason than my audience isn’t here).


I’ll add that I don’t come here for feedback on my serious work. For that I have a critique group of other published writers. It’s a group of people I “collected” over time – it can take a long time to meet the people who really click for critiques.

You may honestly find that you find more beta readers – even critique partners – among people you know from screenwriting and your everyday life than from Wattpad.


Totally true… And I do have them already. I guess I just got a little excited at the idea you might get some immediate feedback here. Now that I understand that’s not the case… I’m now wondering if it’s even a good idea to keep publishing here.

I’ll figure it out… I usually do. LOL.

Thanks again!


Well, only you can answer that. If you participate in the forums, you may get some immediate reads. Heck – your book could be a sudden hit! You won’t know unless you try.


I appreciate that… I really do. Thanks!